Sometime in the 1970s, Kim, our elder son, then still in grade school, said that we should raise flowers for people to cut. We gave it little thought at first, but Kim was persistent. So we compromised. We told him that he could do the flowers as his project and keep whatever profits he made. The Tree Farm has had flowers to cut ever since. The project has grown from that first small flower patch to more than a half acre of flowers today. Many different kinds of flowers bloom in our flower patch from June through early October.
The diversity of flowers include ageratum, baby's breath, butterfly bush, celosia, daisies, delphiniums, flamingo feathers, German statice, gladioli, gomphrena, liatris, marigolds, painted daisies, penstemon, Rudbeckia, snapdragons, statice, strawflowers, sunflowers, yarrow, zinnias, and others. Some of the flowers are perennials, most others are annuals.
Some visitors to The Tree Farm walk in the flowers just to enjoy them, their colors, their fragrance. Some pick a bouquet to take home. With the large variety of flowers available for cutting, no two bouquets are alike. Some give their children the fun and responsibility of picking the family bouquet. Nearly all of our customers find some way to enjoy the bright display of color right next to our scale building.
Customers have found the flower patch at The Tree Farm to be a wonderful source of flowers for special events including weddings, banquets, class reunions, and other parties large and small. They enjoy the fun of creating their own floral arrangements - giving the arrangements a personal and local touch. They are frequently pleasantly surprised at the bargain they obtain in exchange for all of the beauty (and fragrance) that gets loaded into their car - soon to take part in making that event very special, indeed!
Many kinds of flowers can be dried. Because dried flowers aren't perishable, they can be used for special events at any time during the year. They can be picked, dried and even arranged months before an event. Statice and gomphrena from The Tree Farm have been used for February weddings. Decorations for fall events have included a mixture of dried flowers and ornamental gourds.
Picked and dried at their peak, dried flowers store and can be used year round. The best times to pick flowers to dry are:
Baby's breath Our favorite fine textured baby's breath has a fairly short season. It needs to be picked the first or second week in July most years.
German statice is best if picked in late June or early July.
Gomphrena and helichrysum (straw flowers) are usually at their peak in August and early September, although they continue to be available until frost. More care is needed to find quality blooms later in the season.
Statice starts blooming in late July, but the full array of colors sometimes isn't available until late September. Some of the blue varieties of statice are very slow to bloom.
Cutting flowers is easy. Just borrow a pair of scissors from the check out stand, select the flower you want, and cut the stem in a way that will allow the plant to produce more buds. Some people like to build a bouquet one flower at a time, making sure that each successive bloom fits into the bouquet before they cut it. Others seem to decide in advance what they want, and seek exactly the right blossom from the thousands in the field. Perhaps it will be nine matched red zinnias, or blue delphiniums in a baby's breath background. The only hard part is the fun part -- deciding what to pick when there are so many possibilities.
Flowers can be very perishable, particularly in hot weather. Many of our customers bring a container of water to put the fresh flowers in as they cut them. It's a good idea to make cutting flowers the last thing you harvest during each visit to The Tree Farm.